Baptist Home Mission Monthly
Freedmen’s Educational Work
Schools for Choctaw and Chickasaw Freedmen supported mainly by Governmental funds.
J. B. H. O’Reilly Sept. ’79-‘80
Z.T. Thistle Feb. 1882
E.L. Marston Sept. ’76-‘78
Z.T. Thistle Sept. 1881
Miss Rosetta Gibson Feb. 1882
Mrs. Annie E. Kemp Sept. ’81-‘82
Miss S. H. Champney Sept. ’78-‘80
T.N. Johnson Jan. 1880
Miss Mary A. Rounds Feb. ’81-‘82
T. N. Johnson Jan. 1881
T.T. Thuston Sept. ’81-‘82
Miss Mary A. Rounds Sept. ’78-‘81
Robert A. Leslie, Sept. ’78-‘79
John P. Lawton Sept. ’78-‘80
G. W. Dallas Feb. 1881
Mrs. H. L. Dallas Sept. ’81-‘82
- R. Banks Feb. ’81-‘82
John P. Lawton Nov. ’80-‘81
James R. Banks Sept. ’78-‘81
G.W. Dallas Sept. ’78-’81
Baptist Home Mission Monthly, 1878
FREEDMEN IN INDIAN TERRITORY
We are indebted to Mrs. S. Prentiss, Treasurer of the Women's Baptist Home Mission Society of Michigan, for the letter from which the following is taken. Miss Mary Rounds, the writer of the letter, was educated at Wayland Seminary, in the city of Washington, and went to the Indian Territory as a missionary teacher to the Freedmen of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations. She is an intelligent Christian woman, earnestly devoted to the welfare of the colored race, to which she herself belongs. She has been aided in her work by the Women's Home Mission Society of Michigan, and is now teacher of one of the schools which are aided by the funds of the Government, and are placed under the care of the American Baptist Home Mission Society. Her letter was written while the schools of the last year were in progress, and was addressed to Mrs. W. R. Brearley. She says:
"I live twelve miles from Tishomingo, which is the nearest post-office, and often my mail has to lay in the office four days or a week before I get it. There is a large creek to cross, and when it rains the creek is past fording, and there is no bridge; so 'you see that makes it very inconvenient for sending and receiving mail, or anything else we might want from the store or office. Perhaps you understand that in a country village, some forty or more miles from the railroad depot, the post-office and store are in the same building. Tishomingo is a very small settlement of white people, and everybody for ten, fifteen and twenty miles around goes there to trade and get mail.
You supposed I was teaching Indian children; but not so. They are children of the freedmen who were held as slaves by the Indians. They have been almost entirely destitute of educational advantages. Some men, who have learned to read just a little, have been trying to teach the children what they knew. I scarcely know how to describe the condition of the people. They are poor; many of them will wear one suit of clothing all the year (I mean the men), Sundays and week days, and they never seem to think of washing their skin.
The houses are of the rudest structure, not sufficient to keep out the cold or rain, and sloveness reigns supreme. To be sure there are a few exceptions. Now, then, you can imagine the condition of the children who attend school. Oh! They have been so sadly neglected in all their habits, and many of them come to school cold, windy days, without shawls or coats, and perhaps with one thin dress over their shoulders, and the boys with one cotton shirt, thin pants and no drawers, and some with no shoes. But I am thankful to be able to say that I have been enabled to relieve many of them by the kindness of friends in the North who have sent me a box of clothing which has been invaluable. The people and children are very grateful, and say, 'Tell the friends we thank them, and hope the Lord will reward them.'
My school at present numbers 35 pupils; it has numbered 39. They are between the ages of six and fourteen years. Twenty-six of them can read. Two can read in the fourth reader, three in the third reader, and twenty-one in the first and second readers. Five are studying arithmetic, mental and written, and geography. The children love to study and to read the Bible, and attend the Sabbath-school. The parents are de lighted at the idea of having a school for their children. They all love the Sabbath-school, and each Sabbath there is a good attendance. There is no church, there are some few persons who are Christians, mostly of the Methodist faith. There is a man who tries to preach, but he is not educated, and is not capable of teaching or leading the people to a higher standard of Christianity.
The young people are wicked, and, indeed, the older ones are as bad. Quite a number of children have desired prayers, and say, 'Tell the friends up North to pray for us.' The people who profess to love Christ are continually saying, 'Oh! if we could only have a minister to teach and lead us heaven ward.' They are not able to support a minister.
I spend one and a half hours each day teaching the girls to sew. They take a delight in learning. We shall be very glad of Sunday-School papers. We were in great need of papers, Bibles and Testaments, but the box of which I spoke contained quite a supply. They have encouraged me very much. It is cheering to know that so many are thinking of and praying for my success, and I hope, with God's help, to do something for suffering humanity. For my own comfort I need bedding and money. One friend, Mrs. A. J. Cook, of Michigan, has promised to send me two quilts soon. I have but two sheets, and can use but one on the bed at a time. Some sheets would be gratefully received. 1 hope my letter will not be tedious. I thank you for the offered petitions. Please continue to pray for us."